Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera, Catclaw Mimosa

Catclaw Mimosa  has white, whitish or pinkish globose fuzzy-looking flowers in clusters. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera Catclaw Mimosa blooms from May to August in the southwest United States. Fruits, which are a flattened and curved seed pod are developed soon after. Seed pods are constricted between seeds which are reddish brown. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera Catclaw Mimosa has small green deciduous leaves that are pinnately compound with 8 or more leaflets. The leaflets are linear to oblong. Note also the presence of the large insect gall. Insect galls are quite common on Catclaw Mimosa. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera Catclaw Mimosa have sharp prickles (they look like thorns) which are dangerous to anyone or any animal trying to foolishly penetrate the thicket, which the often grow in. These prickles are often found in pairs which is diagnostic to Catclaw Mimosa. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera Catclaw Mimosa are small trees or more appropriately thicket-forming shrubs. Stems are reddish and contain sharp prickles which are hazardous to humans. These thickets provide excellent cover for quail and other ground nesting birds. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera Catclaw Mimosa are small trees or more appropriately thicket-forming shrubs. Stems are reddish and contain sharp prickles which are hazardous to humans. These thickets provide excellent cover for quail and other ground nesting birds. Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera

Scientific Name: Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera
Common Name: Catclaw Mimosa

Also Called: Cat Claw Mimosa, Wait-a-Minute Bush, (Spanish: Gatuño, Gatuña, Uña de Gato, Garruño)

Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family

Synonyms: (Mimosa biuncifera, Mimosa biuncifera var. glabrescens, Mimosa biuncifera var. lindheimeri, Mimosa lindheimeri, Mimosa warnockii, Mimosopsis biuncifera, Mimopsis flexuosa)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Up to 3 to 8 feet (1 - 2.66 m).

Growth Form: Shrub or small tree; straggling, thicket-forming, reddish stems slender, stems with single or paired curved strong prickles, heavily branched. The prickles can be harmful to human skin and cloths.

Leaves: Green; small, deciduous; pinnately compound; 8 or more leaflets,; linear to oblong.

Flower Color: White or whitish or pinkish; fuzzy flowers in globose clusters; fruit is a flattened and curved seed pod which is constricted between seeds, seeds are reddish brown.

Flowering Season: May to August.

Elevation: 3,000 to 6,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Very common in chaparral communities; dry soils on mesas and rocky slopes and hilltops.

Recorded Range: Relatively rare in the United States but common where found, Catclaw Mimosa is found in AZ, NM and TX. In Arizona it occurs throughout most of the state with few or now records in the southwest corner; In New Mexico it is found primarily in the southern half and in Texas it is found scattered through the central and western parts of the state. It also occurs in Puerto Rico and throughout much of Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 22 species for Mimosa. Most native Mimosa are found in Texas. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 708 accepted species names and a further 344 scientific names of infra-specific rank for the genus.
The genus Mimosa is closely related to Acacia and Albizia, the differences are Mimosa flowers are reported to have 10 or fewer stamen per flower.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 5 species of genus Mimosa, California has 0 species, Nevada has 1 species, New Mexico has 6 species, Texas has 17 species, Utah has 1 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.

There is 1 variety in Mimosa aculeaticarpa;
Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera, (AZ, NM, TX).

Comments: Catclaw Mimosa, also commonly called Wait-a-minute Bush, is a dominant mid- to upper-elevation Sonoran Desert species, where it is scattered about with several other co-dominant shrubs such as Acacia, Prosopis and Juniperus. Catclaw Mimosa is one of the common species in the lower to higher desert scrub communities.

This species has a tendency to form thickets and thus providing excellent cover for small mammals and birds. Only the seed pods are eaten by desert livestock and the seeds are eaten by quail.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora; Velvetpod Mimosa, Mimosa dysocarpa and Roemer's Mimosa, Mimosa roemeriana.

For a comprehensive review of Catclaw Mimosa, Mimosa aculeaticarpa biuncifera see the USDA USFS Fire Effects Information System, or FEIS.

Importance to Wildlife and Livestock
Catclaw Mimosa, (Mimosa aculeaticarpa) is marginal for deer and pronghorn unless no other forage exists. The plants are rarely used by livestock and then only if other forage is not available. However the seed pods are highly palatable to both livestock.
The dense thickets provide high cover value to both small rodents and quail and the seed pods are eaten by quail and other ground birds.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Insects
Catclaw Mimosa, (Mimosa aculeaticarpa) flowers provide a good source of nectar for honey bees. Check out: Native bees do it better; Arizona Sonora News, UA Journalism School Media (accessed 11/11/2019).

The genus Mimosa is from the Greek word "mimos", an actor or mime and the suffix "osa" meaning resembling", a reference to rapidly closing leaves which appears to "mimic" conscious life.
The origin and meaning of the species epithet aculeaticarpa is unknown.

No information available.

Date Profile Completed: 09/01/2015, updated 11/11/2019
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 10/09/2019)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 11/02/2019).
Uchytil, Ronald J. 1990., Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera.;USDA Forest Service Fire Effects Information System (MEOF); [accessed 2019, November 11].
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 11/10/2019]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde: (accessed: 09/01/2015)
By Dow, Talise, Native Plants of Arizona 2004; NAU Website (accessed 11/11/2019).
Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness; Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences and the Dale A. Zimmerman Herbarium (accessed 11/11/2019).
Vines, Robert A. 1960. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of the Southwest.; Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 1104 p.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Mimosa aculeaticarpa', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 10 June 2013, 00:17 UTC, [accessed 1 September 2015]
Wikipedia contributors, 'Mimosa', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 11 May 2019, 19:28 UTC, [accessed 3 November 2019]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information